Wrongly misrepresented as a sign of good living in many countries, abdominal or visceral fat has been implicated in a variety of diseases and metabolic disturbances including increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. According to the Journal of Nutrition, a publication of the American Society of Nutrition abdominal adiposity and visceral adipose tissue, in particular, is linked independently to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Emerging evidence from current studies also suggests that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages or carbonated drinks is associated with the accumulation of abdominal fat. There are dangers associated with the accumulation of abdominal fats these include;
Reduced impact of Exercise
Generally, exercises help the body burn excess fat and have been proven to aid in weight loss and management. However, according to a publication in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, abdominal fat is reducing the outcome of exercise.
Excess abdominal fat has been linked to both male and female infertility. In women, the accumulation of fat around the waistline and trunk has been found to reduce natural and assisted pregnancy rates. This is supported by studies that indicated that the subcutaneous abdominal Fat is responsible for the increase in the production of estrogen which leads to hormonal imbalances that result in Anovulation (failure to ovulate). It has also been established that loss of abdominal fat in subfertile men can result in the improvement of sperm quality.
Excess abdominal fat increases the risk of dying from heart disease according to a new study. According to the American College of Cardiology, the accumulation of abdominal fat is associated with newly discovered risk factors related to worsening heart disease.
Another important disease condition that has been linked to the accumulation of abdominal fat is diabetes. As established earlier, the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance is significantly increased with the increase in visceral fat. A consensus statement released by The Obesity Society, and the American Diabetes Association identified waist circumference as a “stronger predictor of diabetes” than BMI.
Accumulation of abdominal fat can also cause
- Sleep apnea (A serious sleep disorder that involves the interruption of breathing during sleep)
- Premature death from any cause and
- High blood pressure
Foods to eat to lose weight in the stomach
Abdominal fat is sometimes referred to as stubborn fat because it is quite difficult to eliminate once accumulated. Getting rid of abdominal fat is the sure way of reducing your risk of diabetes, hypertension, and other metabolic disorders. Foods to eat to lose weight in the stomach include;
Avocados: Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat (MUFA), and a growing body of evidence suggests a reduced-calorie diet rich in MUFAs can help control blood sugar, trim belly fat, and even visceral fat (located deep in your abdomen and linked to a higher risk of diabetes) more effectively than a low-fat, high-carb eating plan.
Bananas: Though high in calories, bananas are a great flat belly fruit. Bananas are rich in healthy fibers that help curb appetite and make the body burn fat. Filling up on high-fiber, low-calorie snacks can help with weight loss and weight maintenance. These foods help prevent feelings of hunger and subsequent overeating, without adding lots of unnecessary calories to your diet. SEE: What Nigerian Fruits burn Fat
Yogurt: Research has shown that the protein and calcium derived from consuming low-fat yogurt can help burn belly fat and boost your weight loss. A recent study found that those who ate three yogurts a day while dieting lost 81% more belly fat than people who didn’t eat yogurt. All study participants were directed to eat 500 fewer calories per day. To help reduce belly fat, eat about 6 ounces of low-fat Greek yogurt before every meal.
Berries: Fruit is also generally low in calories and high in fiber, which may help you lose weight. In fact, eating fruit is linked to lower body weight and a lower risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease. Recent study findings suggest that blueberries may influence genes that regulate fat-burning and storage, helping reduce abdominal fat and lower cholesterol. When combined with a low-fat diet, blueberries might also lower triglycerides and improve blood sugar levels, each benefit of a comprehensive weight loss plan.
Chocolate Skim Milk. Low-fat chocolate milk contains a nearly physiologically ideal ratio of carbs to protein. Experiments have shown that people who drink chocolate milk after a workout recover better, lose more body fat, and gain more muscle than subjects who have a sports drink. A review of more than 90 studies in the journal Nutrition Reviews revealed a strong link between high calcium intake and improved body composition. When your calcium is low, your body secretes hormones that let you make better use of the calcium you have. Problem is, at the same time, your body signals fat cells to hold onto fat, including the fat in your belly. Dairy, including milk (even whole milk, just watch your calories), cheese (especially Swiss), and yogurt, are the preferred sources of calcium. Eat three servings of dairy a day, and keep the rest of your diet in check, and you will steadily lose weight.
Green Tea: Besides reducing your risk of cancer and heart disease, green tea benefits the whole body and contains catechins, antioxidants that studies show can help reduce belly fat. If you sip green tea before a workout, these compounds can also increase your fat burn during aerobic exercise. You don’t need to drink a lot of green tea to help you lose weight. While weight loss benefits vary based on different dynamics, they have been found by drinking as little as 2.5 cups of green tea per day.
Citrus: Are an excellent source of citric acid and vitamin C. Apart from this, lemons help in keeping the digestive system healthy and remove toxins from the body, which may otherwise build up and cause more weight gain. Vitamin C also enhances the burning of fat during exercise. Citrus fruits are a good source of fiber, which has several health benefits, including improving digestive health and aiding weight loss. Oranges are particularly high in soluble fiber, the kind of fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels.
Whole Grains: A diet rich in whole grains may help fight your belly bulge while lowering the risk of heart disease. A new study shows people who followed a weight loss program incorporating whole-grain bread, cereals, and other foods lost more body fat from the abdominal area than those who ate only refined grains like white bread and rice. In addition, those on the whole-grain diet experienced a 38% drop in C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation in the body linked to heart disease.
What to Avoid
Avoid Sugar & Sugar-Sweetened Food & Drinks
Your best chance of reducing your abdominal fat is the reduction in sugar intake. Several studies have established the link between sugar and increased accumulation of fat in the abdomen.
Reduce Carbohydrate Intake Eat More Protein
Improved protein intake can significantly affect abdominal weight loss results. Proteins boost metabolism by 80-100 calories per day and reduce cravings by 60%. Taking lesser amount of carbohydrates can result in 2-3 times more weight loss than low-fat diets.
Eat Food Rich in Fiber
Fiber generally increases the feeling of fullness thereby helping you eat less. Foods rich in soluble and viscous fibers can significantly improve abdominal weight loss results. See: List Of Protein foods in Nigeria and their functions
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